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Mike Moustakas is your 2019 Milwaukee Brewers second baseman

A couple weeks into Spring Training, manager Craig Counsell says he’s seen enough to be comfortable with Moose at the keystone

MLB: Spring Training-Milwaukee Brewers at Colorado Rockies Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

When the Brewers decided to bring Mike Moustakas back, they didn’t waste much time in announcing they would be trying him at second base this spring.

Craig Counsell and David Stearns said they wanted to see how the career third baseman would handle the new position before deciding whether they had to move on to Plan B. As it turns out, that backup plan — likely Travis Shaw going back to second base full-time — never had to be tested.

While Moustakas has yet to be confronted with a double play opportunity this spring, he’s acquitted himself well enough and put in enough work every day that Counsell was comfortable enough to name Moose his starting/primary/initial out-getting second baseman today.

Moustakas has apparently been so solid that the possibility of Shaw playing second base again this year never came up, according to Tom Haudricourt:

Counsell is conceding that Moustakas does not have ideal range for a second baseman, but says his instincts are good. With the way the Brewers move their infield around, the probability of Moustakas having to try to make a long-ranging play could also be reduced, and if Counsell plays it like he did at the end of 2018, odds are we’ll see Moustakas switched out for Hernan Perez or another “true” middle infielder in the late innings, once Counsell is relatively sure Moustakas’ spot in the batting order won’t come up again.

To his credit, Moustakas has also taken the move well on a professional level. When Moustakas signed, it came out that the Brewers were very open about this possibility with him throughout the process. Despite reportedly getting multi-year offers elsewhere to play the only position he’s ever known, Moustakas took a one-year deal with the understanding it would mean changing positions.

Nobody is expecting Moustakas to be a Gold Glover at second base, but it looks like at this point management is fairly confident that he at least won’t be lose-you-a-game bad defensively. Considering the offensive upgrade he provides over any of the other options, it’s likely worth the risk.